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Tina Wilkins was relaxing in her recliner while she chatted on the phone with her mother and waited for the game to begin. She had recently lost 63 pounds and was in better shape than she had been in years. So the pain, swift and so sharp that it robbed her of breath, came out of the blue. It brutally hit her neck, chest, abdomen and back at the same time. She told her mother she had to go and gasped out to her husband, "Call 9-1-1. I'm having a heart attack."
But Wilkins wasn't having a heart attack. Instead, her thoracic aorta, the critical artery that carries blood from a pumping heart to other parts of the body, was dissecting – shredding, tearing – as blood seeped out of it. Seven hours passed from the time of her first symptoms to her arrival at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center via a medical transport plane. The surgical team included Steven Eisenberg, M.D., assistant professor of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at McGovern Medical School, and Hazim Safi, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery and chief of Cardiovascular & Vascular Surgery at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center.
Read more via Medical Express >>